from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No.
brief: Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Seth L.
Gilbert, for appellant. Argued: Seth L. Gilbert.
brief: Yeura R. Venters, Public Defender, and Timothy E.
Pierce, for appellee. Argued: Timothy E. Pierce.
1} Plaintiff-appellant, State of Ohio, appeals the
April 27, 2016 decision and entry of the Franklin County
Court of Common Pleas granting the motion of
defendant-appellee, Ryan M. Roby, to suppress evidence. For
the following reasons, we reverse.
Facts and Procedural History
2} On July 2, 2015, a Franklin County Grand Jury
filed an indictment charging defendant with two criminal
counts: one count of possession of cocaine, in violation of
R.C. 2925.11, a felony of the fifth degree; and one count of
tampering with evidence, in violation of R.C. 2921.12, a
felony of the third degree.
3} On October 26, 2015, defendant filed a motion to
suppress/exclude testimony. On November 16, 2015, the state
filed a memorandum contra defendant's motion to suppress.
On March 29, 2016, the state filed a supplemental memorandum
contra motion to suppress.
4} On April 26, 2016, the trial court held a
suppression hearing. The parties stipulated to the admission
of three exhibits in lieu of presenting testimony. The three
exhibits included copies of a handwritten police report
prepared by Officer John Kim of the City of Bexley Police
Department, and a typed narrative supplement prepared by
5} On April 27, 2016, the trial court filed a
decision and entry granting defendant's motion to
suppress evidence and exclude testimony.
Assignment of Error
6} The state appeals and assigns the following
single assignment of error for our review:
trial court committed reversible error in sustaining
Roby's motion to suppress.
7} In its single assignment of error, the state
contends the trial court erred in granting defendant's
motion to suppress. Specifically, the state contends that (1)
defendant voluntarily abandoned the contraband before he was
seized, thereby relinquishing any privacy interest in the
contraband, (2) the arrest did not violate R.C. 2935.10(B),
(3) even if the arrest violated R.C. 2935.10(B), suppression
was not a proper remedy, and (4) even if the arrest was
unconstitutional, suppression was not necessary to deter
future police misconduct.
Standard of Review
8} "The review of a motion to suppress is a
mixed question of law and fact." State v.
Castagnola, 145 Ohio St.3d 1, 2015-Ohio-1565, ¶ 32,
citing State v. Burnside, 100 Ohio St.3d 152,
2003-Ohio-5372, ¶ 8. In evaluating the motion to
suppress, the trial court acts as the finder of fact and,
therefore, is in the best position to resolve factual
questions and evaluate the credibility of witnesses.
Burnside at ¶ 8. Therefore, we must accept the
trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by
competent, credible evidence. Id. "Accepting
these facts as true, the appellate court must then
independently determine, without deference to the conclusion
of the trial court, whether the facts satisfy the applicable
legal standard." Id. See also State v. Johnson,
10th Dist. No. 13AP-637, 2014- Ohio-671, ¶ 6 ("We
apply a de novo standard in determining whether the trial
court properly denied appellant's motion to
9} The trial court made the following factual
findings, which we must accept as true if they are supported
by competent, credible evidence:
On Friday, August 29, 2014, at approximately 10:50 a.m.,
Officer John Kim of the Bexley Police Department observed
[defendant] walking northbound on N. Cassady Avenue at the
intersection of Bellwood Avenue. Defendant was walking with a
female, later identified as Melissa Laurie. Officer Kim, for
reasons unexplained, knew [defendant] possibly had an active
warrant out of the City of Whitehall, located in Franklin
Officer Kim verified the warrant via the radio dispatcher,
and executed a stop of [defendant] and Laurie at N. Cassady
Avenue and Avalon Place. Upon approach, "[defendant] was
informed that he had a warrant and was under arrest."
(Ex. 2.) Officer Kim observed [defendant] attempt to get
behind Ms. Laurie and hand something off to her. Officer
Glick arrived at the scene and assisted Officer Kim in
placing [defendant] in handcuffs. Prior to Glick's
arrival, Kim observed Laurie throw something toward the front
of the marked cruiser. Officer Glick later inspected the
thrown item(s), and recovered two straws and "a bindle
of a white powdery substance." (Ex. 3.) The white
substance field-tested positive for heroin.
There is no allegation in the stipulated police reports that
Defendant and Laurie committed a criminal offense while
Officer Kim observed [defendant] and verified the warrant.
(Footnotes omitted.) (Decision and Entry at 1-2.) In its
findings of fact, the trial court noted that "[t]he
Parties agree a bench warrant was issued by Whitehall
Mayor's Court, on or about September 4, 2014, in the
Defendant's name, for failure to pay a fine and costs in
Whitehall Mayor's Court Case No. 14MCR-00182, as part of
Defendant's sentence for Petty Theft, in violation of
Whitehall City Ordinance 537.07(A)(1)." (Decision and
Entry at 2, fn. 2.) The state attached to its supplemental
memorandum contra the motion to suppress a ...